By Will Soutter
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded a Small Business Grant to Ensysce Biosciences for optimization of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) formulation employed in siRNA technology for drug delivery in cancer treatment.
The Small Business Grant is worth approximately US $300,000. The award augments the funds received as part of the State of Texas Emerging Technology Award and the US $1 million that was raised by the company in June 2012. The availability of funding will now enable SWCNTs formulation to be firmed up so that Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies can be carried out.
Though siRNA treatment is deemed to hold great potential in cancer therapy, it is plagued by the problem of inadequate cellular delivery. SWCNTs are expected to help address this issue. The Small Business Grant will facilitate the advancement of this path-breaking therapeutic delivery technology prior to clinical assessment. Carbon nanotubes prove to be an effective medium in delivering unchanged agents comprising active large molecules into the sites where cancer cells are located by permeating the natural barriers present in the human body.
Dr. Kirkpatrick, CEO of Ensysce, stated that studies on animals have repeatedly demonstrated the SWCNT delivery of siRNA to tumor sites effectively. The drug will be moved into human studies subsequent to late preclinical assessment once the formulation of the SWCNT is finalized.
Ensysce is situated in the Texas Medical Center’s Biotechnology Commercialization Center. The location was chosen in order to facilitate the company’s collaboration with Rice University.